I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions with this pregnancy since around 17 weeks. About the same time I started having them with Quinn. At that point they were very irregular and mild. As my pregnancy progressed I began having more frequent BH contractions. Around 34 weeks I started to have them quite often but again, I did with Quinn as well. Coming into my 36 week appointment I really only wanted to know one thing-- could I travel to St. Louis to be in my cousin Skye's wedding? I had no doubt I would be able to be in it, I just wanted my doctor to check my cervix to be on the safe side since I would be traveling for the whole weekend and standing a lot. She wasn't going to but since I was supposed to go out of town, she decided to. Well to both of our surprise, I was 3 cm and 60-70% effaced. I was completely shocked and thrown for a loop. I was 3 cm when my doctor accidentally broke my water with Quinn at 39 weeks. How could I possibly be 3cm at 36 weeks (Technically I was like 35 and 5 days). She and I talked and she recommended that I stay in town and miss the wedding. I was heartbroken and really wanted to be there as a bridesmaid for my cousin! I wanted to see her get married! But I knew deep down this was the right decision. Even as I was sitting in the doctors office I started to have some back pain. A new kind of pain that was different than the BH I had been having. I knew something was up. So I left the appointment freaked out about going into labor in the next day or two. After checking me, I started to have lots of cramping and back pain along with more regular BH. I was convinced it was going to happen ASAP. It didn't even cross my mind for hours that this baby would be early if he was born then. I was honestly just SO excited to go into labor and meet my son. I was so excited to be done with this pregnancy and all the stress that came with it. I wanted my healthy son in my arms.
Fast forward to my 37 week appointment. I was technically 36 and 5 days. Over the last week I had my mom come over multiple times because I thought I was going into labor. I had been up a couple times overnight because I was so uncomfortable from my contractions and thought it had to be the day! All this led me to believe I could walk into this appointment and she would check me and I would be 5 cm and 90% effaced. Didn't happen. I was crushed when she told me that I was EXACTLY the same as last week. There was literally no change at all. She told me, "Whatever you seem to be feeling doesn't seem to be enough to change your cervix." Basically I heard, "Ignore whatever you are feeling until you are truly on the ground with contractions."
That night I was tossing and turning again with uncomfortable contractions but I continued to ignore them with more confidence. In the morning I got ready for the Mom's group that Quinn and I go to on Thursdays. I was having regular contractions... but nothing new. MAYBE a little more regular than normal but that's it. I snapped a picture and put it on Instagram. I was SO frustrated that I was still pregnant after so many days of contractions. Didn't think that would be the last pregnant picture I would have!
I went to Real Moms (a mom's group) at 146th and Hazel Dell. On the way I called my friend Jess to ask how long I could have contractions like this and not go into labor. She had them for weeks. Awesome. Strangely, she got the same call and the same question from Heather when she was in labor.
While the speaker was talking, I started to notice that my contractions were becoming a little stronger. After about 20 or so minutes, I told Heather and she asked if I was timing them. I wasn't.. but I was sure that they were frequent. After a couple more minutes, I decided I probably should time them. I was right. They were about a minute long and coming every 2 or so minutes. I thought about it a bit and decided that just in case this was real, if I wanted to get home with Quinn and get my stuff together, I probably should leave. I got up to leave and couldn't stand easily through a contraction. I got Quinn and my friend Jourdan helped me get Quinn to the car. There was no way I could carry him and we needed to get in the car quickly. I almost left my phone at Grace-- Heather had to run it out. She mentioned that she was probably leaving too. We had previously talked about her taking pictures of my labor, but she had a 1 month old and a 2 year old. I was NOT expecting her to do that. But she called Christian and told him what was going on. Amazingly, he was able to come home and stay with Henry and Caroline. So Heather was on her way home too with both kids to meet Christian.
On the way home first I called my mom to tell her to meet me at home so she could take Quinn and then called Aaron to do so as well. Then I proceeded to get turned around and add about 10 minutes to my drive and then get stuff behind an accident in Meridian. By that time I was breathing through my contractions and I had a little mini me in the back seat breathing along with me. I was stressed about getting home!
I got home and immediately noticed that I had "bloody show". It freaked me out! We ran around and got out the door in about 15 minutes. I hardly had anything packed but we were scared about how fast my contractions were coming. They were still every 2 minutes and getting stronger each time. I stopped a couple times walking into the hospital but at that point the pain was manageable.
We checked in around 11:30 and they checked me. I was only 4 cm. WHAT!? They considered sending me home. WHAT?! But my contractions were strong and frequent enough that they decided that I should stay. After getting checked in my room, Heather came. At this point I had already ditched my loose plan of trying to go natural. No. Freaking. Way. I was not really having a huge break. I was having contractions still every 2 minutes for about a minute each.
It took me a whole 20 or so minutes to decide that the anesthesiologist couldn't come soon enough.
I'll tell you right now-- Heather is the strongest person I've ever met. The way she went through labor without any medication and just breathing through her contractions-- WOAH. I was squeezing Aaron's hand so hard while sitting on a birthing ball and not saying the nicest words either.
I'm not sure what time I got the epidural... my guess is around 1:30 or so.
They checked me right afterwards and I was 6-7 cm. The next couple hours I tried to relax. The pain relief was AMAZING. I felt like a new person. We were all smiles after my epidural.
After two hours they decided to check me again. I think I was 9cm. Around 4pm they checked again. I was 10cm and baby was almost coming out! I put on a song (Oceans by Hillsong United) that I have loved recently to calm my nerves; this long journey was about to come to an end. They set things up quickly.
I pushed through two contractions and out came out little baby boy! I pushed for a whole 4 minutes!
I was overcome with emotion. My child was finally safely in my arms. I felt so much relief. I could just feel months and months of stress wash away. He was here!
Theodore Jack Reddington was born on October 17th at 4:26pm. He weighed a whopping 7 pounds 13 ounces 3 weeks early! He was 21 1/4 inches. And to me, he looked exactly like his brother. It was so sweet to finally meet this new little life.
I could write an entire post on reflections over the pregnancy and delivery. But in the end, God granted me peace throughout most of my pregnancy, a loving supportive husband that always stood by my side and He brought me through the toughest thing I've ever done in my life. I was so worn out emotionally during parts of my pregnancy, it wasn't enjoyable most of the time. Throughout I just wanted to see "redemption win" as a song I love says.... and I KNOW that God doesn't "owe" me that after what I went through with Stella, but this time, Teddy's life was part of his plan and for that I am and will always be eternally grateful.
Thank you so much to Heather for beautifully capturing one of the most joyful events of my life. Having these photos to look back on bring me so much happiness and remind me of all the details of the day. It's such a wonderful gift. Thank you Heather!
At this point in the story this sweet little boy was unnamed. I still can't believe we didn't have something picked. It's just not like us! But we just hadn't come across something that we loved and could agree on. It would be 2 more days... and hours away from my discharge before we named him. We decided on Theodore Jack Reddington. Jack was decided for a long time. My mom's brother Uncle Jack passed away this year and when we found out we were having a boy, I immediately knew that I wanted Jack's name and memory to be a part of my son's life. My Uncle Jack was one of the most fearless, faithful and loving Christians I've ever known. He also was filled with more joy than I knew could fit inside one person. I have many stories that I want to tell Teddy about Jack. I hope they inspire and challenge him the same way that Jack did while he was with us. Teddy's first name was what gave us trouble. But in the end we chose Theodore for a couple reasons- Aaron has always loved it, it's a solid name that has been around forever, the meaning "God's gift" rings so true for us after loosing Stella and we loved the nickname Teddy. After meeting Teddy and FINALLY getting to soak him in while in the NICU-- we knew Theodore fit perfectly.
Theodore Jack Reddington, welcome to our family. We have waited for you. Our hearts have been yours since we found out you were in my belly. We love you so very much.
To be continued.... Teddy's NICU stay.